November 4th, 2008 was the day my wife and I celebrated eight years of marriage. We've had (nearly) eight years of living together in the bush. The Australian Bush.
Eighth anniversary. Cilla pulled her little book of irreverent information out and informed me that the appropriate gift for this anniversary is an electrical appliance. Although it sounded unlikely to me - eight-year anniversaries have been around for a lot longer than electrical appliances and marriage has existed for even longer - she assured me that her book is correct, albeit a little modernized. So we thought about what we wanted and decided on expanding our beloved Mac Mini with an external hard drive. Romantic eh? We thought so!
We found a good deal on a 1TB USB hard drive called WD Elements. It was about $185.00 delivered and took nearly a week to arrive, but arrive it did and we set to the task of setting it up on Minnie.
Yes. We named our Mac Mini "Minnie". So what?
First things first, back up docs and videos so I copied them all onto the external hard drive. Then in a flash of wisdom we thought we'd refresh the OS X install on the Mac. There was nothing wrong with it. Everything worked fine, but the install was over a year old and had been upgraded to 10.5 from a pre-installed 10.4 and sort of felt a little sluggish from when we first got it. It's certainly better than the average on my Windows machine which has had about six reinstalls in the same time period.
So a fresh install of Leopard underway, completely formatting the Mac hard disk in the process.
Wiping out everything I forgot to back up.
The iTunes collection - about 40GB of mp3 music we've collected since before we've been married.
Not a huge loss - music is replaceable and we still have our CD's and you can collect iTunes store purchases without any problems.
The big one was the iPhoto collection. About ten years worth of photos of everything Cilla and I have done. Wedding photos. Pics of our dive holidays. Photos of Merlin, our late great dane. And none of it was backed up and all of it just got wiped.
That sucked to say the least.
Anyway, I did manage to recover just about everything. After a little bit of googling I discovered a program called Data Rescue II and it spent about three hours last night looking at the empty bits of my mostly empty hard drive for any trace of what was there before. Despite the length of time and the amount of stress, it was very impressive with the amount of information it managed to retrieve. The drive was re-partitioned, formatted and had OS X installed on it and this software managed to recover all my photos and music - as well as a handful of other stuff that I also forgot to back up.
I suppose it's time to learn from the mistake. Time Machine would probably be a good start, but backup to DVD disks is probably a safer option. Time machine doesn't prevent some idiot formatting the hard drive!